Welsh Eye Care Service (WECS)
In early 2013, the Wales Eye Care Service (WECS) was updated as part of the Wales Eye Care Initiative by the Welsh Government. Allowing accredited optometrists to conduct eye examinations targeted at the health of the eye, making the optometrists the first port of call for those with vision problems or concerns about the health of their eyes rather than merely requiring a new prescription. The service is provided free of charge by the Welsh Government.
Historically, individuals with acute eye problems visited their G.P often meaning a wait to be seen. Now, when a sudden eye problem occurs, which you believe could be serious, a visit to an optometrist registered with the WECS scheme can see you in a free appointment usually within 24 hours. Furthermore, WECS allows G.Ps to refer patients straight to an accredited optometrist.
Generally a visit to an optometrist is free under the Eye Health Examination Wales (EHEW) scheme if:
- The patient has an acute eye problem.
- Is Unicular
- Is hearing impaired
- Has RP
- Was referred by a Dr
- Is at risk of eye disease due to ethnic background
- Needs investigations to comply with WG agreed protocols/guidelines (e.g. DRSSW referral)